''The Four Feathers'' is a 2002 film directed by Shekhar Kapur, starring Creator/HeathLedger, [[TheFilmOfTheBook the latest of several based on the 1902 novel]] of the same name by A.E.W. Mason.

The film is set in [[UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain 1880s]] [[UsefulNotes/TheBritishEmpire Britain]] and the Sudan during the [[UsefulNotes/TheRiverWar Mahdist Revolt]]. After resigning from the [[UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships British Army]] the week they were to ship out to fight the Mahdi in the Sudan, Harry Faversham (Ledger) receives [[TitleDrop four feathers]][[note]]a symbol of cowardice at the time[[/note]] from his friends and his fiancée. Shaken by guilt, he decides to [[RedemptionQuest redeem himself by going to the Sudan alone]] and find his friends.
!!This film provides examples of:
* AnachronismStew: When Faversham and Abou Fatma enter the fort that is held by the Mahdi's army, the soldiers can be heard singing "Tsamina", a 1986 hit song by a Cameroonian group, based on the slang of Cameroonian sharpshooters in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: Probably the most egregious flaw, the Battle of Abu Klea was a ''British victory''.
* ArtisticLicenseMilitary: Well, a British campaign ''was'' fought in the Sudan in 1884. That's about all it gets right. Major points include: The British wore grey, not red, in the Sudan, the force sent was much larger and comprised of several regiments, not just one.
* AscendedExtra: Abou Fatma is a minor ChekhovsGunman character in the novel who delivers General Gordon's letters to Jack, then disappears until the very end, when he helps Harry and Trench escape from prison. In the movie he's promoted to Harry's sidekick with a much larger role.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: Subverted spectacularly with [[spoiler:Abou Fatma during the prison escape]], with a little CallBack to an earlier trick that the Mahdi used.
* ButtMonkey: Edward Castleton. He is usually the butt of jokes from Harry's other friends. Nevertheless, Castleton is loyal and the only one of his friends that didn't send Harry a feather. [[spoiler:Castleton is killed in battle by friendly fire after failing to get back into the defense square.]]
* {{Deconstruction}}: The original novel's Victorian-era values of [[HonorBeforeReason extreme]] [[StiffUpperLip Stoicism]], empire-building, and doing one's social duty are all criticised, and [[TheHero Harry]]'s attempt to single-handedly redeem himself goes pretty badly until he gets help from [[HypercompetentSidekick Abu Fatma]] (although that falls into [[MagicalNegro another trope]]).
* {{Determinator}}: Harry is an ActionSurvivor who repeatedly goes through hell to rescue his friends. Determination is usually all that carries him through.
* DirtyCoward: Harry is seen as this after he resigns from the unit by his friends, his fiancee, and even [[IHaveNoSon his father]].
* EyeScream: [[spoiler:Jack's rifle explodes in his face, blinding him.]]
* FakeBrit: Australian Heath Ledger and Americans Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson.
* KickTheSonOfABitch: Harry's first reaction to Jack after he saves Jack and discovers his letters from Ethne. [[spoiler:Subverted when Harry learns that Jack is blind.]]
* LaserGuidedKarma: Harry's first guide in the Sudan cruelly whipped an African princess traveling with them until Harry stopped him. [[spoiler:The African princess and her accomplice kill the guide in his sleep, while sparing Harry.]]
* LoveTriangle: Harry and Ethne are engaged. Jack is in love with Ethne. As soon as Harry disappears, Jack starts courting Ethne. [[spoiler:Jack calls off his engagement with Ethne when he finds out Harry saved his life. Harry and Ethne are engaged again.]]
* {{MacGuffin}}: [[TitleDrop The four feathers]] he received from Jack, Willoughby, Trench, and Ethne.
* [[MistakenForSpies Mistaken for a Spy]]: Abou Fatma, sent by "a British officer" [Harry] to warn his unit of the upcoming ambush, is thought to be a spy and is whipped without any consideration towards his message.
* OhCrap: Harry's unit experienced this in battle. Upon closer inspection of a red-coated cavalry riding toward them in the heat of battle:
-->''"It's not the British! It's the Mahdi!"''
* {{Rugby is Slaughter}} The opening scene.
* {{Spirited Young Lady}} If the British Army had taken women then, she would have joined in a moment.
* TrueCompanions: Harry and his friends, Jack Durrance, Tom Willoughby, Edward Castleton and William Trench.
* WarIsGlorious: A widely-believed view by the British Army at the time.
* WhatWereYouThinking: Harry gives this to Willoughby for not listening to Abou Fatma's message from him, along with a big dose of WhatTheHellHero
* WretchedHive: The Sudan is portrayed as this.
* ZergRush: The strategy of the Mahdi against the British.